Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Renee Austin's Career Cut Short!

It is with a great deal of sadness that Blind Pig Records announces that Renee Austin is ending her burgeoning career as a singer. A paralyzed vocal chord has forced her to abandon her profession.
Austin's 2003 national debut CD, Sweet Talk, sparked critical raves and predictions of greatness, with many comparing her to Janis Joplin and Tina Turner. It also led to a "Best New Artist Debut" W.C. Handy nomination and a slot on the PBS-TV film entitled Blues Divas. Her second Blind Pig release, Right About Love, impressed critics with her stunning vocal dynamism, her passion, and her remarkable versatility. Again, many predicted her sassy "roadhouse soul" style of music would soon land her in the mainstream. As Harp magazine put it, "If talent still counts in the music biz, she'll be an established star."
Label executive Edward Chmelewski said, "We've been greatly impressed with Renee's immense talent since we first heard her. It's tragic that something like this occurs just as her career was taking off. We really feel for her and wish her the best. Besides being an incredibly gifted artist, she's a wonderful person who's been great to work with."
In an open letter to her fans and supporters, Austin broke the heart-rending news, "I want to start by thanking all of my friends, family, fellow musicians, and fans for all the love and support you have given me over the years. As most of you know I released my second CD with Blind Pig Records Right About Love on August 16th. It is a piece of me that I am very proud of and a culmination of lots of hard work from many people.
As some of you know I had to have surgery on September 13th to remove a lump on my thyroid gland. I feel blessed to be able to tell you that I am doing fine and the lump turned out to be cancer free. I regret to inform you all that as a result of the surgery my left vocal chord has been left paralyzed and is not working. The result of this is I can talk softly but I cannot sing.
In the last couple of weeks after lots of medical opinions and various hospital visits my condition has been diagnosed as likely permanent. This means that I probably will never be able to sing again. I am working hard with a speech therapist to see if I can beat the odds and God willing raise my voice in song once again someday. Until that time comes I must say goodbye to you all as a singer and thank you again for all of the love and support you have given me.
I thank God for the opportunities He gave me to live out my dream even if only for small window of time. I trust that He has a plan for my life and whatever that is, I will put my heart and soul into it just as I did my music.
From the bottom of my heart - please know I thank all of you for your kindness to me and I will remember it always. May God Bless each of you."


Blogger danielteddybear said...

When I lived in Minneapolis, I heard Renee Austin many times. And, I chatted with her many times. She was always very cordial.

This little woman (originally from Texas) could really belt out a tune. And, her range was unbelievable!

Renee was best in person. Her cd's never really lived up to her live performances.

She always occurred to be a hard worker... and professional.

I'm a "retired" lead guitarist and I've worked with some great talent. Given that, Renee, was one of the most exciting talents I've ever listened to.

Dan The Man from Phoenix

2/14/2006 02:38:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't BELIEVE, they compared Renee with Janis Joplin and Tina Turner, they are both screamers not singers. They were just in the right place at the right time and I'm not hatin as the younguns say.

I was watching "Blues Divas" and had to sit down when Renee belted out "Full Moon" I'm stepping out against some heavy weights on that special such as Odetta, Irma Thomas, Mavis Staples & Betty Lavette. Renee sang better than them all and had a range that gave me chills.

I'm so sorry to hear about the Thyroid thing. I too had problems with mine not a lump but over active which I was able to Radioactive Iodine to dissolve the entire thyroid but I'm not a professional singer and Renee's treatment changed her career. I just have to take pill every day of my life.

I do hope you will be back

Brenda Ball

6/23/2007 06:47:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was watching Blues Divas in SA,TX and when you sang that song you wrote as a tribute to Ella Fitz, just went all through me. I'm 65 and I'been into music since Allen Freed. Thank You So Much for that tune. As I'm writing this,I'm replaying that performance, probably for the 50th time at least. I'm really not a religious person so much, but I shall pray for you and that so beautiful a voice will continue to grace us all.
Love to hear how you are doing.
My sincere best wishes.
Daddy Rich in SA TX

8/09/2007 10:42:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's me, 65 again. I'm floored by this news. Never heard of you before Blues Divas, Blew me away totally. If you never sing another note or song just be well and know that you reached and made fans of people you never imagined.
God Bless & Best wishes

8/09/2007 11:18:00 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

How are you? Where the #$@! are you?
I just saw you on TV with the Blues Divas and I have been saving it forever!! Could you please tell me how you are doing.....I've been to the Spotted Cat in New Orleans and I just can't believe that you are missing in action. I hope that everything I have read is just a temporary thing............who knows?
You are awesome....i've turned many friends on to you..........

8/10/2007 11:04:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The first time I heard Renee live I didn't realize how much I had been missing someone as talented as her. I especially enjoyed the gospel set. One of those was a favorite of my Mother's. I saw her 4 times and came away each time time with the same thought, she's got it all!!! Hope you're doing fine Renee......from Omaha

8/22/2007 11:30:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I watched "Blues Divas" a few times just to hear her sing and held on to every note. I wanted to learn more about her from the net and came across this site. I was deeply sadden about what I read. The world has lost a window of great music with a touch of class. I pray for her return.

Milton Dukes

9/5/2007 10:24 AM

9/05/2007 07:28:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We went to a club in the Philly Suburbs sept 2005 she was booked at and they never bothered telling us what was really up when the band did not show. It took some emails and Renee answered personally.The whole scenario was shocking.

Renee was the best blues/r&b singer I ever heard in all my years of playing-control, range phrasing, power. The albums were really albums, broad range of styles, well constructed, arranged and produced, not just verse chorus verse chorus solo-she would have broken nationally with crossover styles.

I am still broken hearted about her loss and never having seen her live. Wherever you are Renee, we all wish you the best.

9/13/2007 08:19:00 PM  
Blogger Pamela Jean said...

I had the wonderful opportunity to have Renee as my vocal coach. Not only did I get to see her perform in 2 major cities, but each week in a tiny room we'd sit together as she'd help me develop my 1st recording. She also inspired me to model for her husband who is a photographer and that led me on another successful journey as well. Renee is a very blessed woman and I believe she will sing again. My prayers are with u and I miss you both!

10/03/2007 12:47:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't believe for one minute that you'll never be able to sing again. Read the book "the secret" It may change your life



12/24/2007 12:51:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm very new to the Blues, started listening to the blues through the Indie Blues Feed network. In a little over 3 months I've heard a couple hundred blues artists. Renee Austin simply blows every body else away. She is so good that you don't need anyone to tell you she's good. Not sure why Heavenly Father would give her a gift like that and then take it away but I trust that there is a reason that she'll discover some day---if she hasn't already.

12/25/2007 02:32:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have just discovered Blues by accident while I was in a restaurant that was listening to Sirius Satellite Radio. I have started to listen constantly. I heard "Right About Love" and immediately downloaded the full album from Itunes for my IPOD. I was blown away by the album and the fantastic voice. Upon reading this blog, I am sad to know that there may not be any further albums to follow. Best wishes and good luck for a full recovery, and hopefully I will be able to download many more albums from Renee in the future.

1/07/2008 03:52:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I cannot imagine what you must feel. This just makes no sense.
I have many wonderful memories of working with you during the summer of 02...There were many spine tingling moments during our sets.
Thank you for all the joy!
I pray for your recovery.
Michael Scott

1/10/2008 11:11:00 PM  
Anonymous steve gorges said...

was visiting Darwin's in Marietta and saw her pic up on the wall. I asked when she'd be coming back when i learned this very unfortunate news. she's been one of those artists that no matter who I introduced to her work got blown away by the power and range. i'm sure she and her management have looked at all the viable options, but from but from what I understand Emory in Atlanta has specialists who've resurrected the voices of quite a few artists from various backgrounds - not sure if any have had Renee's specific issue. Good Luck Renee!

4/09/2008 01:48:00 PM  
Blogger Cadillac Karol said...

It still brings tears to my eyes when I think about not getting to hear Renees beautiful voice again. We think of her often, and still get goosebumps listening to her music. Our thoughts and prayers are with you Renee. From Hickory/Charlotte, NC.

8/10/2008 09:27:00 AM  
Anonymous Denise Legros, Warwick, RI said...

I was introduced to Renee about four years ago. I was stopped in my tracks, as I listen and said, who is that, Oh my God what a voice. I later went on to learn her songs and practiced to sing some of them in our band. I having been searching for a few years to see where she would be playing, so maybe by chance I could see her live. I couldn't understand until now, why there were no shows listed on Blind Pigs site, now I know why. I have been crying for an hour. I can't even image losing my voice. As a tribute to Renee, I will sing her songs and hope to do them justice. I will pray for you. Please keep the faith, that voice can't be gone for ever, we deserve to be able to appreciate it for years to come.
We love you Renee, God Bless you.

10/26/2008 04:48:00 PM  
Blogger mamablues said...

you must continue to contribute to us your prolific writing and infuse the world with your heart and soul...perhaps you may feel they are only words without a voice...you now must see that your words give voice to others

11/18/2008 06:34:00 AM  
Anonymous Sandra Mendez, Riv, CA said...

I too watched "Blues Divas" and I have to say that I fast forward most of the show, but when I heard Renee sing I was blown away. I thought wow! This women is great! I kept rewinding back just to hear her sing Full Moon. I told my self I would go and buy her CD. I found myself searching for her on the internet and found this site. I really felt sad to read what Renee had to go through. Renee if God can heal my son from terminal cancer he can heal your vocal cord. I will pray for you. I look forward to hearing about your miracle and hearing you sing about it. God Bless You. Have faith.

12/13/2008 09:12:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My introduction to Renee was through "Blues Divas." I've never heard anyone close to her ability. I felt devastated for her when I learned from the website of her voice loss. BUT, with her ability to write "FOOL MOON," I would hope she'll continue in writing songs, for it's a classic in every sense. PLEASE keep writing. Ray LaSalle

1/23/2009 11:05:00 AM  
Blogger kent bruce elder said...

you and your band rule...your musical talent has got to be the tip of the iceberg for someone as real as you..we.love and always will your recordings and video...bring it...whatever u do will be awsome ...you don't have to sing to shine...lovexoxoxoxox

2/08/2009 12:47:00 AM  
Blogger cdrsteve said...

missing you and your music....... wishing you the best in what life has in store for you.

2/27/2009 07:21:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

just now heard your singing, and just now learned of your story... my prayers, hope and wishes, that you will once again grace our life with your voice and song, as awesome as it was. know always you have what it takes to overcome.

2/28/2009 09:47:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I never heard of Renee Austin until I was channel surfing and watched "Blues Divas" on PBS on 2-28-09.
All I could say was WOW. The range was incredible. I looked on the net to purchase the CD. I didn't realize that great voice was silenced three years ago. Hopefully, she is doing well today.

3/01/2009 11:22:00 AM  
Blogger SactoDan said...

I stumbled upon Blue Divas on PBS and could not believe my ears.

I immediately bought 2 of Renee Austin's albums on iTunes. Looking for more and reading the tragic news that a fluke ended her career I bought the last one.

This is so sad, to be given such a wonderful gift only to have it taken away. Talk about an exercise in acceptance.

Sometimes things don't happen for a reason, they just happen.

5/03/2009 10:05:00 AM  
Anonymous John Postiglione said...

You were sent to this earth as a gift.You will remain in musical for life .I am so sorry that your gift was taken from us too soon Love Your newest fan .John Postiglione

6/29/2009 08:11:00 PM  
Anonymous Cyndie Sledge said...

Renee, I pray you still read these messeges;) I have been a singer(42 yrs old) in Texas most my life and I too started in gospel. Andre Crouch was my first gospel inspiration. "Through it all". How meaningful that must be to you and your family now. I was justed introduced to your music a few short months ago and I love all of it!
I cant begin to understand what it might be like to lose your voice but with that said your beautiful music will go on forever! I hope its ok but I will perform a couple of your tunes at Chick Singers Night in Dallas @ The House of Blues. I want to share your story and bless others that may not have heard your tunes but they will now! I dont get paid I just sing and that's just fine with me. It's a gift and I always want to treat it as such. Thank you for your spirituality, raw emotion and promise. Your friend in music, Cyndie Sledge

1/21/2010 12:27:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just found you on Blues Divas. Absolute incredible! Very few people have your talent and even if you are singing it has made a mark. Take care of yourself.

3/17/2010 08:51:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I saw you and your band about 8 years ago, and you were incredible. Your set had me spellbound. Afterwards, you kindly hung out and signed CDs - a class act. God bless you, I hop all is well. Tom, Owego, NY

9/23/2011 11:47:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just found out that Renee's voice is back and she is singing again!
"After 5 long years of struggle, there is a happy ending to this story; Austin’s voice has miraculously returned! Says the artist, "I never thought I would sing again. I had no hope. I had resigned myself to the fact that it was over. But now I have a chance to do the thing I love to do most and that is write and perform my music."
Check out this web link. https://www.reverbnation.com/page_object/page_object_bio/artist_1794095

2/12/2012 08:03:00 PM  
Anonymous Christina y. said...

I have been trying to find Renee. I have known her for years she was my soulsister she went to my church and I used to always go to see her at famous Dave's and I couldn't wait to turn 21 to see her. The fact that u say she can sing again and if its true I just want to say u go girl I knew u could do it I always had faith in u.

4/14/2012 11:04:00 AM  

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